Is it an instrument? Is it a performance controller? Is it a studio mixer? It's all three and more. It's Joué and it's designed to bring back that sense of wonder and discovery when playing instruments and blur the lines between analog and digital for music makers.
We were thrilled to get the scoop and learn about the Joué back on October 20th 2016. This expressive modular MIDI controller is unlike any other MIDI controller you've seen. If you had to compare it to an existing product, the rubberines of the module pads could make you think of the ROLI Seaboard. However, it takes quite a different approach. Where most/all MIDI controllers are fixed in their layout, Joué includes smart modules that can be swapped out and give you different ways to interact and play with the Joué.
And the big news? Joué has just hit Kickstarter!
A couple of weeks back in central Bristol, UK, I met with Pascal Joguet, the man behind the Joué, and co-founder of the original JazzMutant Lemur. Over lunch he showed me the prototype of the Joué . It's a beautiful device to hold with its wooden exterior and metal plate area. We played with this rather unusual MIDI controller, oblivious to our surroundings. And I simply lost myself like I would with a guitar or other real instrument. There were times I forgot I was playing a controller triggering sounds in Ableton Live. Then with other modules I felt very much like I was adjusting cutoff, distortion, etc. in innovative ways and discovering combinations I hadn't thought of using the XY pad and circular jog pads.
Watch the Joué Kickstarter video here:
Joué has 3 slots which can be populated by the rubberized modules. e.g. guitar frets, keyboard layout, drum pads, mixer, XT pad, and some modules comprise a combination of these. One of the cool things is that modules can be exchanged on the fly during a live performance.
You may have noticed I used the word, "smart" to describe Joué. So, what's smart about this controller? Well, here's what. When you map parameters of control values to a module, this configuration is stored in the module itself. So, you can pass these around to others or put it back in the Joué during a performance and Joué will automatically detect the modules and will send the MIDI data you want it to.
As well as being fully MIDI compatible and therefore being able to control software like Ableton Live, Logic Pro, etc., and being able to control MIDI hardware without a computer involved (you'll need a USB to MIDI converter), Joué is MPE compliant (Multi-dimensional Polyphonic Expression).
The Joué is indeed an expressive controller. I'd like to go as far to compare it to an instrument. When testing the prototype I found myself holding the Joué in different ways depending on the inserted modules. For example, I naturally wanted to adopt a guitar playing stance with the fretboard module in place. The modules are magnetized so they won't fall from their slots unless you intend to remove them.
Joué is on Kickstarter today. For as little as €260 EUR you can get a Joué plus a control pack of modules. There's 44 days remaining to help fund probably one of the most creative, flexible and playable/performable MIDI controllers. Being modular means it can truly fit to your needs. Very cool!
Prices: From €260 EUR
Support Joué on Kickstarter: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1556263559/joue